The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has lifted Manchester City’s ban from the Champions League and reduced the club’s fine.
The city was initially hit with a two-year ban from the Champions League back in February this year.
The Manchester side was found to have overstated sponsorship revenue in accounts submitted between 2012 and 2016, according to European football’s governing body UEFA.
At that point, City was banned from UEFA club competitions for the following two seasons and fined 30million euros (£24.9million) after allegedly committing “serious breaches” of financial regulations.
A UEFA statement from February 14 said:
“The Adjudicatory Chamber, having considered all the evidence, has found that Manchester City Football Club committed serious breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations by overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016”.
The city denied the allegations at the time and sought an appeal to CAS, saying: “Simply put, this is a case initiated by UEFA, prosecuted by UEFA and judged by UEFA.”
That appeal has now been heard and in a statement released this morning, CAS said:
“The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued its decision in the arbitration procedure between Manchester City Football Club and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
“The case concerns an appeal filed by Manchester City FC (MCFC) against the decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) dated 14 February 2020 in which it was deemed to have contravened UEFA’s Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations and sanctioned with exclusion from participation in UEFA club competitions in the next two seasons and ordered to pay a fine of EUR 30 million.
“The Panel of arbitrators in charge of the matter, composed of Mr. Rui Botica Santos (Portugal), President, Prof. Ulrich Haas (Germany) and Mr. Andrew McDougall QC (France), conducted a hearing with the parties, their legal representatives, witnesses and experts on 8, 9 and 10 June 2020.
“Following the hearing, the CAS Panel deliberated and concluded that the decision issued on 14 February 2020 by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the CFCB should be set aside and replaced by the following: a.) MCFC has contravened Article 56 of the Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations. b.) MCFC shall pay a fine of EUR 10,000,000 to the UEFA, within 30 days as from the date of issuance of the arbitral award.
“The CAS award emphasized that most of the alleged breaches reported by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the CFCB were either not established or time-barred.
“As the charges with respect to any dishonest concealment of equity funding were clearly more significant violations than obstructing the CFCB’s investigations, it was not appropriate to impose a ban on participating in UEFA’s club competitions for MCFC’s failure to cooperate with the CFCB’s investigations alone.
“However, considering i) the financial resources of MCFC; ii) the importance of the cooperation of clubs in investigations conducted by the CFCB, because of its limited investigative means; and iii) MCFC’s disregard of such principle and its obstruction of the investigations, the CAS Panel found that a significant fine should be imposed on MCFC and considered it appropriate to reduce UEFA’s initial fine by 2/3, i.e. to the amount of EUR 10 million. The final award with reasons will be published on the CAS website in a few days.”
Pep Guardiola’s team are currently 21 points adrift of champions Liverpool in the Premier League table.
Midfielder Kevin De Bruyne previously hinted the outcome of today’s decision could impact his future at the club.
Speaking to Belgian media back in May, he said:
“Once the statement is made, I will review everything. Two years [without European football] would be a long time. If it is one year I might see.”